September 1, 2022

SEM deep dive #1 : weekend die-shot

SEM not only allows to see smaller things - it can also have larger depth of focus (so we can see things more in "3d") and shows texture/material differently. Let's look at few select chips of the past 2 years.

First K122UN2 - dual stage audio amplifier:

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September 1, 2022
July 9, 2022

Laser decapsulation - not so fast

After dreaming for many years about a cleaner way of chip decapsulation, I finally got my hands on a MOPA fiber laser. But like many things in this life, it apparently is more complicated than it seems. I went through ~20 chips trying to find pulse energy threshold that still eats through plastic, but keeps microchip alive. Unfortunately, at least for glass-filled plastic, I don't see any opening in the process window.

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July 1, 2022

DW01R - LiIon protection chip : weekend die-shot

Which microchip protects the most property and human life? Automotive? Healthcare? I think this one could be the winner.
DW01R is a LiIon battery protection chip - and saves millions of homes from burning down.

Die size - 769x757 µm.

June 6, 2022

National LH0042CH - hybrid opamp with FET frontend : weekend die-shot

National LH0042CH came from the time when you could not have had high-performance BJT and FET transistors on the same die. Even in 2022 there is still room for hybrid opamps, for example external JFET frontend still allows one to reach lower noise compared to integrated IC.

Main die size 1053x825 µm, frontend die 567x520 µm.

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May 29, 2022

ITT Intermetall SAH181 - 30% of 70's multimeter : weekend die-shot

ITT Intermetall SAH181 comes from a time when you needed multiple chips to build 3/4-digit multimeter. It is a part of multimeter chipset: roughly, SAH161 receives comparator output and contains part of ADC logic, SAH171 is "memory" for storing digits to be displayed (there are different versions for 1000/2000/10'000/20'000 count multimeters) and finally SAH181 scans digits from memory (SAH171) and displays them using single external BCD->7 segment decoder.

Die size 1697x1439 µm.

May 22, 2022

Motorola MC1709CG - monolithic opamp : weekend die-shot

Motorola MC1709CG - monolithic opamp without frequency compensation.
Die size 1140x1015 µm.

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